Larry Smith: “March 31, 1852 in Thoreau’s Journal”

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March 31, 1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:
What would the days, what would our life, be worth, if some nights were not dark as pitch, – of darkness tangible or that you can cut with a knife? How else could the light in the mind shine? How should we be conscious of the light of reason? If it were not for physical cold, how should we have discovered the warmth of the affections? I sometimes feel that I need to sit in a far-away cave through a three weeks’ storm, cold and wet, to give a tone to my system. The spring has its windy March to usher it in, with many soaking rains reaching into April. Methinks I would share every creature’s suffering for the sake of its experience and joy.

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March 31, 1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:

What would the days, what would our life, be worth, 
if some nights were not dark as pitch, 
of darkness tangible or that you can cut with a knife? 
How else could the light in the mind shine? 
How should we be conscious of the light of reason? 
If it were not for physical cold, how should we 
have discovered the warmth of the affections? 

I sometimes feel that I need to sit in a far-away cave
through a three weeks’ storm, cold and wet, 
to give a tone to my system. 
The spring has its windy March to usher it in, 
with many soaking rains reaching into April. 
Methinks I would share every creature’s suffering 
for the sake of its experience and joy.

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About the Author: Larry Smith, director of Bottom Dog Press in Ohio. Smith is from the industrial Ohio Valley and a professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University with over a dozen books of fiction, poetry, and memoir.

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More By Larry Smith:

No Walls

Union Town

At The Country Store

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